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Biography of Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel was born on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France, as the second child of her parents. Her full name is Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. 7 years after Coco Chanel was born, her parents got married. His mother was a washer and his father was a salesman who toured the town markets by horse-drawn carriage. Chanel had 2 brothers and 2 sisters.

Coco Chanel was only 12 years old when her mother died of tuberculosis. She completed her education at the aubazine Catholic Monastery she. Coco Chanel’s father left her and her siblings in the orphanage and never came back. When Coco Chanel turned 18, she took her siblings with her and moved to a house in Aubazine, France, where Catholic girls were staying. Learning to sew during her 6 years at Aubazine, Chanel began an apprenticeship with a tailor who sewed the clothes of French Officers.

Chanel met French officer and millionaire Etienne Balsan at her workplace. Balsan invited Chanel to the entertainment venue called Cafe Chantant, where French officers go. Women, laughter, dancing, cigarette smoke and the stage… It was the first time Chanel had gone to a place like this.


Etienne asked Coco Chanel to go on stage and sing a song for her. Taking the stage, Chanel “Qui qu’a vu Coco dans I’Trocadero?” she sang her song. The audience applauded Chanel for a long time. After Chanel got off the stage, Etienné hugged her and whispered “Co-co, Co-co” in Chanel’s ear. “You will be Coco for me from today,” she said. And the Coco Chanel brand was actually born that day.

Coco Chanel fell in love with Etienne Balsan that night when she took the stage. Chanel’s first love, Balsan, invited her to her castle. In this castle where she remained her mistress for 3 years, Chanel met beautiful and stylish women, noble men, diamonds, pearls, champagnes, parties, in short, “luxury” life.

In 1908, he met Captain Arthur Edward Boy Capel, who was a friend of Etienne Balsan and came from an English aristocratic family, and their relationship began for 9 years. Boy Capel rented an apartment in Paris for Coco Chanel. Even after Arthur Edward Boy Capel married British aristocrat Lady Diana Wyndham in 1918, he remained in a relationship with Coco Chanel until she died in a car crash on December 21, 1919. Coco Chanel built a monument to her memory at the site of the accident.


Coco Chanel opened her first shop in Paris in 1910, when she was 27 years old, with the financing of Captain Arthur Edward Boy Capel. She designed different outfits for women who had sent their husbands to the military during World War I. In 1912, when theater actress Gabrielle Dorziat wore Chanel’s hats in a theater play, the Chanel brand became famous.

In 1913, he opened a boutique in Deauville, financed by Arthur Edward Boy Capel. Here, Chanel sold hats, jackets, sweaters, and marinière, a sailor blouse. He opened his haute couture boutique in 1916. By 1917, Coco Chanel’s fame had spread so much that more than 300 tailors were working with her. In 1918, Chanel bought the entire building at 31 rue Cambon, in one of the most fashionable districts of Paris. In 1919, she opened the Chanel fashion house in Paris.

In the early 1920s, Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, who also inspired the movie “Big Love”, entered the life of Coco Chanel. Stravinsky was a musician living in exile in Paris with his wife with tuberculosis and their four children. The couple, who had a passionate love, parted ways in a short time.


Coco Chanel created her first perfume No: 5 in 1921. The reason why Chanel named this perfume No: 5 was her belief in the luck of the number five. She was even promoting her collections on February 5 and August 5. So much so that even today, the fashion shows of the Chanel fashion house are held on the 5th of the month.

In 1923, in Monte Carlo, she met Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster, and became her lover. Arthur Grosvenor bought a house for Chanel in London’s prestigious Mayfair district. Their relationship continued for 10 years. Arthur Grosvenor bought a plot of land near Monte Carlo for Coco Chanel in 1929. Coco Chanel also built a large villa here.

By 1925, Coco Chanel had become a fashion designer who appealed to the elite in Europe and whose designs were admired by everyone.


In the 1930s, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had Coco Chanel designed the uniforms of the Turkish Armed Forces. The Turkish army wore uniforms bearing the signature of Coco Chanel until the 1980s.

Coco Chanel decided to marry interior designer Paul Iribe in 1932. When Iribe died shortly before their planned wedding, the press dubbed Coco Chanel “La Grande Mademoiselle” (The Great Mademoiselle).

When the Second World War broke out in 1939, Coco Chanel closed her fashion house. She spent that period only sewing haute couture clothes in her home. After the Second World War, in 1945, Chanel moved to Switzerland. she lived in Switzerland for a few years. In 1954 she returned to Paris and reopened her fashion house.

On February 5, 1954, at the age of 70, Chanel’s fashion show, which exhibited her new collection, was followed by editors from American Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. Vogue promoted this collection as the “return of coquetry”.

One of the most important reasons that made Coco Chanel a legend was that she did things that no one dared to do. Women wore their first trousers thanks to Coco Chanel. He made the black worn at funerals one of the indispensable colors of fashion. Audrey Hepburn’s black dress and pearl necklace in the 1961 movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is her work… Her No: 5 perfume, chain-handled bag and flats have always been indispensable.


Coco Chanel, the only fashion designer whose name was also included in Time Magazine’s “100 Most Important Persons of the Century”, never married.

Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971 at the age of 88. The tomb of the famous fashion designer is in the Bois-de-Vaux Cemetery in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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